The Watchman

The Watchman

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Just the Four of Us?

For the Memorial Weekend, our family took its bi-annual trip to Northern Utah to attend the Roberts Family Reunion and visit our ancestors in their final resting place.  Although in regards to this trip, I use the term family generously since the only children making the trip with Rick and I were the girls.  How empty our van seemed to us as parents.  Yet to our daughters, who each had their own seat, it was perfect.  There was no fighting, no cries of "Stop touching me!", no "There's no room for me to sleep."  It seemed surreal, almost like stepping into an alternate universe.  The girls commented more than once how much they enjoyed having control over the MP3 player, control over the DS games, their own drink holders for both soda and water bottles.  They saw their goal of a brother-free road trip to the exotic location of Disneyland one step closer.

Hunter did meet up with us in Ogden and went with us to visit the cemeteries.  It was nice to hear him share his memories of similar past visits and his memories of times with his grandparents and the stories they have shared with him.

Memorial Day was also spent celebrating our family that is here with us while remembering the great heritage that is ours.  Our niece Janny participated in Memorial Day Program at the Morgan County Veteran's Memorial.  This is one of the most moving programs I have ever been to.  The presenters mainly were volunteers from the schools in Morgan County.  The Story of the Star Spangled Banner read by Commander Jim Nickerson brought tears to my eyes and was followed by a rendition of our National Anthem by Sean Workman that was better than any I have heard at the start of professional sports.  It was a good start to the day to help us remember how blessed we are to live in a land where we can be free and the closing of the program with an Honor Guard Salute and the playing of Taps was a fitting tribute to those who have sacrificed so much to keep this nation free.

Our afternoon was spent with the Roberts family.  How fun it was to spend time with so many of my cousins, second cousins, first cousins once removed, etc!!!  It was so great to see people I normally only get to communicate with through Facebook.  This is my Grandma Cook's family; the descendants of Walton Anthony and Olive Corbridge Roberts.  Of the original family, only my Aunt Imogene remains, but each year the descendants of these great people gather together to reconnect and celebrate the legacy of faith, sacrifice and service that we are heirs to.  As I have grown older, my favorite part of the reunion is the family update - a chronicle by those in attendance of introductions and updates.  Many times I have been touched by the stories of God's tender mercy to those that I love and I also know that I come from a long line of good storytellers and practical jokers.

As a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, I believe that the bonds of family extend through the eternities. Families are forever and how blessed I have been to have that connection to such an amazing group of people and how fortunate I am that the tradition of reuniting and renewing our family bonds has extended to another generation - my children.  And I am so grateful that my children have embraced their heritage, even as they leave our home to establish homes of their own.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Graduation Attitude

So it is official, Rick and I are over halfway to being empty-nesters.  I guess in reality we are probably closer to being empty-nesters than starting as new parents since Hunter is 22 and Emily will be 18 in only 9 years.

I loved the thought during this year's ceremony that focused on Graduation not being the end of learning, but it was a Commencement - the start of what should be a lifetime of learning and experiencing.

After their individual graduation ceremonies, during our picture taking extravaganza, we asked each son to strike a senior pose.  The poses are as different as their personalities.

Hunter Class of 2008

Wil Class of 2011

Jon Class of 2012

I can hardly wait to see what the girls pull off.  But we have 7 years to wait for the first one.

Congratulations to the Class of 2012!! May your future be bright.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Power of Grandparents

I have been so blessed to have parents and in-laws who are actively involved in the lives of their grandchildren. As I think back on my childhood, I know how blessed I was to have two very loving grandmothers.  Both my grandfathers died long before I was born, so I did not have the experience of a grandfather until I met my husband and was able to see the interaction between his grandfather and Rick and his siblings.

This week we have been spinning with end-of-the-year activities - three graduations, two concerts, multiple award ceremonies.  It has been both exhausting and joyful.  At each event, my children had the presence and/or support of their grandparents.  I remember my own graduation from high school.  At that time we were limited to the number of guest we could invite.  Most of the studentbody were only provided with two tickets.  I was fortunate since I spoke at graduation I received four tickets and my dad was a dignitary invited to sit on the stand during graduation, I was able to invite not only my parents, but my Grandma Cook and my Great-aunt and Great Uncle.  As I looked at the group we had for Jon and Lela's graduation and the past graduations of Hunter and Wil, I am glad that my children did not have that restriction.

I was especially touched by the faithfulness of another grandmother I witnessed during Seminary Graduation.  Seminary is a four-year program of religious instruction provided by the LDS church for high school age students.  To graduate is a real accomplishment as it entails these young adults sacrificing other activities to participate.  As we attended the Graduation Ceremony for the Hurricane High Seminary with Jon, we sat by a friend of ours who was there supporting her granddaughter.  As far as we could tell, this sweet grandmother was the only person there supporting this young girl who was not only graduating, but spoke at the ceremony.  Prior to the ceremony, this sweet woman leaned to tell me how disappointed her husband was to not be able to be there, but he had needed to work.

It is the faith and support of this grandmother that I have admired over the many years we have known her and her family.  I cannot think of a single activity her many grandchildren have participated in, any program they performed in, or awards ceremony where they have been honored that this grandmother has not been in attendance.  She said to me she did not know how she had been blessed with such amazing grandchildren and I know it is because of her and her dedication and example.

I have been so blessed that my children have the same support from their grandparents even if at times attendance is in spirit only and activities are proceeded or followed by a phone call.  I hope my children's children will be able to have the same support and guidance that I received and that my children receive.

Emily and Lela with Grandpa and Grandma Dickamore.  My dad always gives the
grandchildren new clothes for church for Christmas.

Wil with Grandpa and Grandma Dickamore the day he entered the MTC.

Emily and Lela with Grandpa Dean and Grandma Patti exploring the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

Grandpa and Grandma Dickamore at the State Championship Football Game.  

Grandpa Dean reads with Hunter.

Grandma Wixom with Rick and Jon in Washington DC.

Grandma Wixom with Jon on the day he was blessed (christened).

Grandpa Dean with Hunter

Grandpa Dean with Wil

Grandma Wixom with us at the Utah State Fair.

Grandpa Dickamore with Hunter, Jon and Wil helping us move to Texas.

Grandma Dickamore (my mom) with her mother, my Grandma Cook holding Lela
and me on Lela's blessing (christening) day.

Grandma Cook holding me with my mom and Aunt Evadna.

Grandpa Jones with Rick and David on the day Rick left to serve a mission in  Toronto Canada.

Wil's graduation from Hurricane High School.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

How I Spent My Tuesday

Yesterday was one of those almost perfect days that happen so seldom.

About six months ago I found a grant opportunity for the Hurricane City Police Department that would help improve the Department's Youth Safety Programs.  These programs include bike rodeos, walk-your-child-to-school days and the Kid ID Program.  The grant application was very simple to complete in that it was straight forward in the information that was requested, but difficult in that the spaces were limited by character size. Have you ever tried to explain something you are passionate about in 300 characters or less?

The provider was Select Health through their Select 25 program which awards 25 applicants with $2,500 each.  We were thrilled to learn that out of over 300 applications submitted, our program was one of the 25 selected to receive an award.  Through the award process, the people of Select Health have been amazing to work with.  Every step of the way they were quick to respond to questions, provide us information often in anticipation of questions and made all involved with our program feel like they were absolutely appreciated.

One stipulation of the award was that the recipient attend an awards luncheon in Salt Lake City.  Part of that luncheon was a video presentation of each recipient's program.  In April, a camera crew from Select Health traveled to Hurricane to film the our program.  Sergeant Brandon Buell did an excellent job putting together a mini-bike rodeo and a mock walk-to-school event for the filming in cooperation with a local elementary school.  Since waivers for all participants in the video had to be signed, children of school faculty and police department employees were utilized.  The day was a great success and everyone who participated had a good time.

One of my favorite pictures from the video shoot.  I thought the cameraman was especially brave with this one.
When we arrived at the opening reception for the luncheon, our group was met by many representatives from Select Health.  A few said that they had seen the video and were so appreciative of what the Department was trying to accomplish.  Others asked us to describe our program and then provided positive comments on what the Department is trying to accomplish.  The room the reception was held in was decorated with 6 foot banners spotlighting each award recipient.  It was interesting to read what each program was trying to accomplish.  We knew within a few minutes that we were with a very Select group.

Our Banner - Bookmark-like reproductions were used on the tables as decorations.
The video presentation brought tears to my eyes as I learned the stories of some of the other recipient organizations.  Here a few that especially touched my heart.  To learn about all the wonderful organizations recognized as Select 25 recipients, you can use this link to go to the Select Health website.

House of Hope - Due to changes in crib standards, this organization that provides help to individuals overcoming drug addiction will need to replace all the cribs used in their child-care center by the end of the year or have to shut down/ reduce services.  The award they received will go to purchase the needed cribs.

Polizzi Clinic - This clinic was started to provide mental health and psychiatric services to those who would not otherwise be able to afford it by a group of individuals who saw a need and set out to make the solution a reality.  The award will be used to help purchase medication for individuals.

The People's Health Clinic - Provides medical care to uninsured individuals.  The award will go to provide eyeglasses for children.

New Frontiers for Families - Provides safe care for children.  Much of their equipment, such as jump ropes and playground balls, is being held together with duct tape. The award will go to purchase new equipment for these children to use.

Troop 1262 - Provides Scouting activities for refugee Burmese boys that have been relocated to Salt Lake City.  The award will be used to purchase camping equipment such as tents, sleeping bags and backpacks so that these boys can enjoy the outdoors.

After the presentation, I felt so humbled to have been a part of this Select 25 group.  I also felt a sense of validation for the program that the Hurricane City Police Department and Sgt. Buell have spent so many years developing, maintaining and promoting.  In a community that experiences a large amount of traffic due to the number of tourists each year, there have been very few bicycle/automobile or pedestrian/automobile accidents involving children.  I know this due in part to the efforts of the officers of the HCPD.

Upon arriving home, I was able to attend the Hurricane High Honors Night with Rick and our son Jon.  Again I was humbled as I witnessed my son receive many awards for his accomplishments.  I know he has worked so hard for his academic achievements.  He even carried on the family tradition of Perfect Attendance and received a Hurricane Tiger Blanket.  It was also one of those times when as a parent you feel a sense of validation for all those years of science fair projects, band concerts, soccer games, book fairs, parent-teacher conferences and hours and hours of homework.

Jon, in his suit, with his friends awaiting to receive their Utah Scholars Award.
So last night when I laid my head on my pillow, completely exhausted, it was to sweet dreams.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Crazy May

I thought I would share the items on my agenda for the next ten days till school is out: Band Concert, Orchestra Concert, Honors Night, Scholarship Night, Girl Scout Powderpuff Derby, Youth Group Girls' Day Out, Scrapbooking Night, 5th Grade Graduation, High School Graduation, Select 25 Award Presentation, Father and Sons' Outing and attend a wedding reception for our friends' son.  (Deep breath)

But the best thing of all will be getting to speak with my missionary son on Mother's Day.  I have never called anywhere outside the US other than Canada before, so this should be an adventure.

Today started off the event-filled period with the History Wax Museum for 5th Grade.  Lela was Merriwether Lewis.  She was most excited to learn that he had been shot in the bum.  Luckily all I had to do was help her find a costume without purchasing anything from the store.

Lela as Merriwether Lewis with Tanner as William Clark.  Tanner is really slouched down in this picture.
We joked with Lela that she could give a Fractured Fairy-Tale version of history and explain that Lewis was really a woman who loved adventure by the name of Mary Lewis.  She was good friends with Clark and when he proposed the expedition, he needed someone to go along who would be good at keeping journals and drawing, but in order to receive funding from the government, the person needed to be a man.  So the friends concocted the persona of Merriwether Lewis to accompany Clark and Sacagawea was brought along instead of a male guide in order to meet the needs of propriety.  I am sure my friend and author, Marie Higgins, could make something out of our scenario, but Lela was having none of it. (Click on this link if you want to check out Marie's work.)

I am looking at all this as a warm-up for swimming that starts the week following Memorial Day.  That is real craziness.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Two Posts....

I just finished reading two blog posts, one each by two of my oldest friends (and I mean that by time known ladies).  Both posts dealt with letting sons go out on their own.  The first was about a son who was being sent off with joy and faith to serve a mission for the Lord.  The other expressed the fears of a mother who had to exercise tough love in dealing with a son who has chosen a different path.

My heart goes out to both of my friends.  The first because I have stood in her shoes and know how hard that separation will be, but I also know the joy that will come at the end when he returns home.  For my other dear sweet friend, my heart breaks, not because I have stood where she now stands, but because the thought of needing to make such a choice terrifies me.

Being a mother is never easy if it is done right.  I love this quote by Hamilton Wright Mabie: The mother loves her child most divinely, not when she surrounds him with comfort and anticipates his wants, but when she resolutely holds him to the highest standards and is content with nothing less than his best.  

My prayers are with my friends today.  I know that they have both been good mothers and love their children most divinely.  But in the end, our children leave our protection and make their own choices.  Yet we will always be their mother.

So this Mother's Day, I want to say thank you to my own mother, Janet Dickamore, to my Grandma Cook, and to my Aunt Florence and my Aunt Diana.  Thank you all for what you gave me as a child that helped me be the woman and mother I am today.  Each day I feel your influence in my life and for that I am eternally grateful.

With my mother, Janet Dickamore when I was six months old